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Blue Magic Paperback – April 10, 2012
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“I loved this. An original and terrific apocalyptic fantasy set in the real world.” ―Patricia Briggs, #1 bestselling author on Indigo Springs
“An edge-of-the-seat thriller.” ―Booklist on Indigo Springs
“A fascinating, multilayered tale of people caught up with forces beyond their control. Not only is it a cracking good tale, it's an insightful look into the consequences of using great power selfishly.” ―RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars on Indigo Springs
“Indigo Springs is well worth a visit.” ―bookotron.com on Indigo Springs
About the Author
A.M. DELLAMONICA is the author of Indigo Springs, which won the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Her short fiction has appeared in Asimov's, Realms of Fantasy, Sci-Fiction and Strange Horizons, and in numerous anthologies; her 2005 alternate-history Joan of Arc story, "A Key to the Illuminated Heretic," was short-listed for the Sideways Award and the Nebula Award. Dellamonica lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Top customer reviews
Sahara formed a cult focused on her being a goddess ruling the world while her former BFF turned enemy Astrid tries to heal the world. The would-be goddess loses and now she stands trial along with her minion for crimes against the state. Astrid somewhat helps Will Forest, who assisted her in ending Sahara's reign of terror, locate his children. However, Astrid is distracted by her efforts to prevent global annihilation that she fears she set in motion.
The return to Indigo Springs is an exciting and enthralling fantasy that once again looks at the consequences of "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (Lord Acton). The Indigo Springs' subplots that follow up on the lives of the lead players from the first thriller (Will's kids, Sahara's trial and Astrid's concerns that have her followers arguing) supersedes the world apocalypse now plot as the small overwhelms the big; which feels wrong as the global pandemic could end Indigo Springs and the rest of earth. Still this is an entertaining tale that provides a close scrutiny of magic's corruption effect.
The first book introduces us to Astrid, who upon returning to her hometown of Indigo Springs discovered a powerful source of magic with which she can enchant objects and people. Her longtime friends Jacks (who loves her) and Sahara (whom Astrid loves but Sahara's true love is herself), and her mother become involved and after some argument over how to handle the magic, tragedy ensues for some and Astrid is locked up by the government. Blue Magic picks up shortly after and broadens the canvas to global (and actually beyond) impact, and involves literally world-shaking and world-changing events.
The characters in the first book were a mixed bag for me. I found Astrid the most interesting, but a bit too passive and I can't say I really cared over-much what happened to her. Jacks was mostly a blank slate for me, a role to fill rather than a fully created character. And Sahara was just a bit too on the nose in terms of playing the villain. The side characters had little to endear me to them or set them apart. And the basic premise of the magic always seemed too strong to me in the sense that I never shook the feeling that things could have turned out so much better and so much easier had they just "done this or this or that" with the magic, which seemed wholly possible.
This nagging feeling only worsened as we entered Blue Magic, which ratcheted up the entire conflict into a literal war between/among four factions: The U.S. army, which is terrorized by the magic that is now contaminating the world; Astrid's group that is bleeding the magic out of its source world and into our own (for reasons I'm not going into but that make perfect sense); Sahara's group, which is more of a cult that worships Sahara as a goddess; and the Fyremen, a group who has over generations fought the "witches" that employ the magic fluid, known as vitagua. There are battles and raids and people die and I know we're supposed to feel lots of suspense over how things will turn out and who will live and die, but that same feeling of "couldn't they just . . . ." bled the book dry of most suspense for me. It's certainly possible I just didn't have a grip on how the magic worked or what they could do with it, but for whatever reason, the drama all seemed artificial to me. It didn't help that we were reminded often of the fact that Astrid had seen certain futures, and while it's made clear her visions often lack complete knowledge, they still lowered the tension level a bit.
Astrid comes much more alive in this book than the first, though my favorite character, and the one that I thought showed the most depth, was Will, who unlike many of the others is truly caught between sides and philosophies, making him automatically a more interesting character. Again, most of the side-characters had little to make them stand out as particularly interesting or original and Sahara is once more just too cartoony a villain for me.
The plot was more episodic and felt a bit scattered and overly long, with some uneven pacing. The ending was an improvement on the ending of Indigo Springs, however, feeling less rushed and better prepared for.
I had a hard time staying engage in Indigo Springs and the same held true for Blue Magic, which like the first I also put down and picked up multiple times. In the end, I liked the concept of the books more than the execution of the concept; the idea of the characters more than the characterization of the characters; the potential of the magic system rather than the actual use of the magic system as plot device. I'd love to have seen what these books might have been like written say in another ten years when the author has several more novels under her belt. But as they are, I can't really recommend them.
When I see the word "magic," I immediately think "fantasy;" but "Indigo Springs" and "Blue Magic" seem to me to be at least as much science fiction as anything else. Think of magic as a virus, isolated over the centuries by a small group of Fyremen dedicated to protecting the unwary and destroying both the virus and all of its vectors (people who have learned to channel the virus into productive applications); think of a small number of geographically segregated "wells" (existing in the wild, so to speak, unknown to the Fyremen) in which the contagion has over the years become concentrated and contained, like radioactive waste, in silos, under pressure; and then imagine what it's like when the seal of one such well begins to fail, with potentially catastrophic consequences for everybody on Earth.
Now think of a small group of volunteers working feverishly against time to mitigate the impacts of the existing leak; to contain the domino effect as the reverberations of the leaking magical energy, spreading world-wide, threaten to destabilize other such wells and set them off; and to derive a final and positive resolution to the problems this creates. That's the task set for the heroes of "Blue Magic," and in the end the solution they've found is not only deeply satisfying but joyfully predictive of the development of a new reality interface for us all.
Fun characters, intriguing concept, convincing settings, high stakes and the triumph of intelligence over brute force: I recommend "Blue Magic" (and "Indigo Springs") for readers who are in the market for a cheerful romp through an original landscape over a solid story-telling foundation en route to a happy ending.